Want to know if you can freeze risotto? While I don’t recommend it, if you need to freeze it, here’s the best way to freeze risotto.
If you’ve ever made risotto (if you haven’t, learn How to Make Risotto) and had leftovers, you’ve probably wondered the best way to store it.
For a lot of food, freezing is the best way to save it. Risotto is not one of them. While freezing ingredients is a great way to preserve most foods risotto is known for its very specific creamy texture, and that creamy texture does not freeze well.
Why can’t you freeze risotto?
Allow me to put my food scientist hat on and explain: risotto becomes creamy because you slowly let it absorb liquid like stock or water. And as you probably know, water-based sauces form ice crystals when frozen. These ice crystals will wreck the texture of your risotto when you go to reheat it unless you use this one specific technique.
Can you freeze risotto?
Yes, you can freeze risotto but let me be clear – the texture when you reheat risotto from frozen is not good. And as anyone who has had good risotto knows, it’s all about the texture. Luckily, there are so many other ways to store risotto!
The best way to freeze risotto
If you are going to freeze the risotto, here’s how:
- Let it cool completely and come to room temperature first.
- Transfer to an airtight container or a freezer-safe plastic bag. Make sure to label the container with the date and the type of risotto so you remember later!
This frozen risotto will last 3 months in the freezer, but the texture will continue to deteriorate over time.
How to defrost risotto (the right way)
Ok, here’s where the tricky part comes in so here’s the only way I recommend reheating risotto.
- Use warm water: Add the frozen risotto (in its storage container) to warm water and thaw it slowly, like really slowly.
- Leave it be: Let this thaw and do not stir it until the risotto is completely thawed.
- Reheat: Once thawed, remove the risotto from the water and remove the risotto from the container. Transfer to the stovetop and stir the risotto while reheating slowly with a splash of broth or water.
- Check Texture: Risotto tends to thicken in the refrigerator and freezer. If it’s too thick after reheating, you can add a bit more liquid (broth or water) to achieve your desired consistency.
Alternatives to freezing
If you have leftover risotto, I would highly recommend this method as a better option than freezing.
- Airtight Container: Once the risotto has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container. This helps prevent moisture loss, which can dry out the risotto.
- Refrigerate: Place the sealed container in the refrigerator. Risotto can be stored for up to 2 days.
Recipes to make with leftover risotto
Leftover risotto is honestly better used in a new recipe than reheated to be eaten as traditional risotto. Here are a few ideas of ways to utilize those leftovers!
- Rice Balls (Arancini)
- Rice Cakes
- Sautéed until crispy and used as a salad topping